Check out these fun and creative ways that can help you raise money to go to We Will! Try one or two.. or ten!
1. DIY – Make & Sell
If you’re part of Women’s Ministries at your corps, chances are you’ve had some experience with making DIY items. Listed below are a few (out of many!) simple ideas of products you (and your friends) can make and sell to raise money!
Eats in a Jar – Use mason jars to sell ready-to-make baked goods, ready-to-eat salads, soups, and desserts! Dress the jars up with leftover fabric, ribbon, twine and name tags. Check out these recipes and ideas here, here and here.
Rice Heating Pads – Whether it’s aroma therapy, relieving aching muscles and cramps, warming your hands and feet or just relaxing – these things are heaven! Tutorials can be found here, here and here.
Hand Warmers – Make these toasty hand warmers and sell them as gifts for bell ringers, bandsmen playing around the kettle, kids as you send them off to the bus stop – even stuff them in your own coat pockets as you run errands! Find ideas here, here, here and here!
Candles – Create and sell custom candles! Have fun utilizing different scents, containers and materials – this fundraiser idea is sure to be a hit! Check out these tutorials here, here, here and here.
Seed Bombs – Seed bombs are little nuggets of clay, compost, and native seeds that you throw at the ground in your yard or in a neglected space to help turn it into a flowering wonderland. Easy to make and easier to sell! Find ideas here, here, here and here!
2. Trunk Wars
Based off the TV show Storage Wars, the basic premise of this fundraiser is to auction off items out of the trunks of cars! Anyone who wants to participate will fill their trunk with items, placing them in bags, containers, and/or in plain sight. The participating cars will line up with their trunks open; everyone who is “shopping” will then walk around and survey the goods – but they can only look, not touch (preserving the mystery of items enclosed in bags/boxes). Your live auctioneer will go car to car, auctioning off the items of each until they’ve been sold (100% of the money going to the fundraiser). The highest bidders will then collect the items they won, open them, and see what they got!
- You may consider creating clear parameters/guidelines to what fills each trunk, such as, ‘contents must be worth at least $20/be something you yourself wouldn’t mind winning.’ Ensuring that the winners are not gifted with junk/useless items will only help your event, and your corps members will have had so much fun, this fundraiser will be in demand in the future.
- Be creative! You don’t have to completely fill a trunk; a car or two with one solitary item, hidden in a bag, sitting on the floor of the trunk will intrigue people. Mystery = good.
- Consider allowing people to work in pairs/groups to fill a trunk. Doing it alone can be intimidating and a lot of work. Maybe your youth group would like to ‘sponsor’ a trunk, or maybe there’s someone who wants to participate but doesn’t have a car – yay teamwork!
- Make sure you not only have trunks to sell, but shoppers to buy them!
3. Photo Shoot
In the age of Instagram and selfie sticks, it’s safe to say most everyone loves having their picture taken! Consider organizing a special photo day for members of your corps and community. Hire a professional photographer or ask a friend of a friend who has a nice camera – and then a pick a theme and collect costume items! Decide how much you want to charge, when you want to schedule it, and if you want to offer appointments or walk-ins only.
- Theme ideas: Wild West, Victorian, Throwback, Old Salvation Army, Famous People/Hollywood, Superheroes, Disney, etc. Even simple outdoor portraits would be popular!
- Consider editing the photos before giving them to the participants (the extra touch goes a long way)!
- Do you have a corps directory? If not, consider doing one as your fundraiser! Scrap the theme ideas and instead take nice pictures of your corps members and accept donations in lieu of mandatory payment. That way, you won’t be alienating anyone from the directory who couldn’t afford to pay your set amount.
- If you don’t want to make a traditional directory, print the photos individually and tack them on a bulletin board in the corps and make that your ‘Corps Family’ board!
- It’s easy for the photo shoot to fall on one person’s shoulders; if several women from your corps wish to attend We Will and hope to benefit from the fundraiser, find a way that they can all participate. Assign someone to ‘staging’ (helping families pose, moving hair out of faces, etc), someone to make kids smile for the camera, someone to manage the families waiting and direct them when it’s their turn for photos; ask another woman to help in getting the photos to the families after the shoot, and a few more to help set up and tear down costumes and backdrops/decorations.
4. Cook Off Competition
If you’re a part of the Army, you know we all love to eat. We don’t often need an excuse, but a Cook Off fundraiser is a really, really good one. So should you choose this fundraiser, start off by picking the theme. Is it a chili cook off? A soup cook off? A crock off (cooking anything using slow cookers)? What about a casserole, salad, or dessert cook off? So many delicious options!
Next, decide which day you’ll have it on and then start looking for chefs! Create a sign up sheet and give yourself plenty of time for people to hear about the event and get their name down. Set a goal for participants based on how many people you think will come (such as 10 participants for 60 people), so you’re ensured you won’t run out of food.
This is a competition, so you’ll need to prepare for a ‘tasting’ round where everyone tries small samples of each dish; you will then need to create a system for voting, and then allow time for the final round, where everyone gets to go back up to the food tables to “dig in.” Don’t forget you’ll be awarding prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners (so make sure to get trophies)! You’ll also want to create signs for each dish to help in the voting round.
Start a shopping list. If participants are providing the main dish, you’ll need to provide things like salad, drinks, toppings cups, plates, bowls, silverware, dessert, etc. Then determine if you’ll sell tickets or charge people at the door.
- Ask the cooks to come up with a creative name for their dish and then allow everyone to vote on whose is “Most Creatively Named”. It’s a fun addition! (Examples: “Mean Green Pea Machine”, “Yo Quiero Taco Soup”, “Booth’s Boundless Borscht”, “Soup,
Soap and Salvation“, “Crock-A-Noodle-Dooooo”, “Despicable MEat”, “Chili Chili Bang Bang”)
5. Bake Sale
I don’t care what anyone says – a good bake sale will never get old and it makes for a great fundraiser!
Spend a day with your ladies baking cookies, cakes, etc. Focus on making the ‘classics’ or take suggestions from corps members as to what to make, including vegan or gluten free treats! Set up a table (get permission first) at a time and place where there will be tons of people around (youth night, corps dinner, etc) and sell the items you baked. Make sure you advertise the prices clearly, as well as what the fundraiser is for.
- Consider taking orders (in advance) in addition to selling the treats from a table
- ‘Kill two birds with one stone’ – include a bake sale in other fundraising events, such as the Cook Off, Outdoor Movie, etc.
6. Money Wall
Collect envelopes and number them from 1 to 30 (or any other number). Place the envelopes on a table in a central location or tape them to a wall (with permission!). Encourage corps members to take one and return it with the corresponding money inside (ie, envelope #3 would come back with $3, envelope #20 would have $20). This technique allows people to donate what they feel comfortable donating, and in a way that doesn’t inconvenience them.
Note: If #1-30 were all returned with the corresponding cash amounts, you will have raised $465!!
- Consider spending time decorating the envelopes, to make the whole fundraiser more visually appealing
- Put little preemptive ‘Thank You” notes in the envelopes, or informational cards about We Will, so the person can read more about what they’re donating to. You could even place a request inside the envelopes thanking them not only for their donation, but also asking them to pray for something specific in regards to We Will (safe travel, come back encouraged, make friends, etc)
7. Penny Wars
Here’s a great way to get rid of pesky pocket change! Penny Wars is a fundraising competition between teams over who can get the most positive points by the end of the competition. Pennies and cash count as positive points, so each penny = 1 point, and each dollar = 100 points. All silver coins count as negative, for instance a nickel = -5 points, a quarter = -25 points (the rules listed in the above image are another alternative you can explore). The goal is for each team to get as many pennies and cash in their buckets as possible throughout the competition, while sabotaging the other teams by ‘contributing’ silver to them. The winner at the end is the team that has the most positive points at the end of the competition. Prizes can range from a pizza party, gift cards, your officer getting a pie in the face… have fun with it!
A corps in Flint, MI uses this as a fundraiser between the boys and girls during Sunday school. As you can imagine, kids get very competitive and the ‘war’ wages for weeks. They’re currently nearing the end of this year’s fundraiser and ten weeks in have raised over $3,000!
For National Salvation Army Week this year, THQ (USA South) held their first ever Penny Wars Kettle Competition. In 3.5 days, they raised $2,000! Learn more in the video below.
8. Outdoor Movie Night
Don’t have the time or help to pull off some of these fundraiser ideas? Here’s a low key, low cost option: host an outdoor movie night at your corps! Not only will it be of interest to members of your corps, but your community as well! Summer break is coming and parents will be searching out activities to keep their children occupied. Hello, #communityoutreach!
Decide on a family friendly movie, then pick a date and time for the event. Advertise it in your Sunday bulletins, on Facebook, and throughout the community. Determine where you want to set up the movie and (if you’re outside) make sure the noise isn’t an issue with any neighbors. If you don’t have a movie screen, there are plenty of cheap DIY options online!
NOTE: Due to copyright law, you can’t charge for tickets, but you can take donations!
A majority of the funds raised will come from concessions, so plan what foods and drinks you’ll sell and for how much! (Maybe this would be a good time for a bake sale?)
- Plan some activities for the early birds (music, silent auction, kids games, dunk tank)
- Provide the kids with glow sticks
- Sell cardboard boxes for $1, and allow kids to decorate and turn them into ‘cars’ that they can sit in during the movie!
9. Pastie Sale
Common in the Central Territory, corps members have ‘pasty’ or ‘pastie’-making parties and sell the finished pies to raise money for a cause. Often, a few varieties are available to order, such as beef, chicken and vegetarian. These hearty pies can be frozen and reheated in the oven when ready to be consumed and are sold for around $6 each.
10. Yard Sale
Yard sales certainly aren’t a new idea, but they are successful! Make this a corps-wide event and invite everyone to donate items or pay to sponsor a table where they can sell their own stuff. Advertise on Facebook (create an event page and post about it), Craigslist, put signs out for passersby to see and distribute flyers (try making one on canva.com) across the city. Give yourself plenty of time to accrue enough items for the sale because more donations = more sales. Make sure you have help organizing, tagging and pricing the items, as well as a group on hand to assist you the day of.
- If there are people who don’t have items to donate but want to help in some way, consider asking them to bring baked goods, coffee, bottled water etc to sell at the garage sale.
- This might be a good opportunity as well to sell some of the DIY items mentioned at the top of this article
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